Home Retailing & Marketing West Coast Secret Stash closes

West Coast Secret Stash closes

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Kevin Smith explains he’s closing his west coast comics shop and runs through a gallery of memories:

Part of the charm of those stores, for the fans of the flicks (and, largely, those are the folks who shop there), has always been about the people behind the counter. Walk into the Red Bank Stash, and there’s Walt – the Fan Boy from “Mallrats”, “Chasing Amy”, and “Strike Back.” Walk into the Westwood Stash, and there’s Steve-Dave himself. If the store’s not gonna be staffed by someone who’s not in the flicks… well, there’s little point, for me, in keeping it going.

And while Stash West was always a nice little earner, it’s never been anything close to the earner that the Red Bank Stash is. The east coast Stash sits in the cradle of the View Askewniverse – Monmouth County, New Jersey – so it’s always been the more popular of the two stores. You can visit it en route to see the Quick Stop, or Jack’s Music Shop (from “Chasing Amy”), or any of the other locations we’ve shot the flicks at back home. Westwood Stash never had that going for it. Sure, it had a shitload of props from the flicks on display (like Stash East); but at the Jersey store, you can really immerse yourself in View Askew by taking a five minute ride and buying Gatorade in the actual Quick Stop. If the store was earning twice what the Red Bank store earned, I’d start manning the counter myself. But while Stash West turns a nice profit (albeit a small one: the Westwood rent is double the Red Bank rent), it’s just not worth the effort if one of the key figures in our operation’s not gonna run it anymore.

  1. No store ever lasts in Westwood. The area promises a constant renewal, but just sits there raising rents while all the major tenants leave and minor ones come and go. Great movie theaters, though.

    When I first visited California in the 80s, Westwood was like some sort of non-mall heaven. On Friday and Staurday nights, they closed the area off to traffic. The streets were elbow-to-elbow with UCLA students and Angelenos of all stripes. The merchants varied from big chains to smaller joints.

    And Secret Stash was always staffed, if not by the originals, by a bunch of Jay wanna-bes, which was always good for a chuckle, even as my 7 year-old vacillated greatly over which superhero T-shirt he wanted and they called him “little dude.”

  2. While it’s always a little sad when a comic store closes, I can’t say I’ll miss this one all that much. Something about it just left me cold every time I’d go in (which therefore turned out to not be all that often).

    Second the Hi De Ho suggestion. They rock.

  3. Damn. I gotta pick up my comics before they close.

    I’m going to miss having a place a short hop from work to pick up my comics, and while the selection was never that hot it was a great place to shoot the shit, and (the short time that I worked there) staff.

    Ah well. Now it’s back to braving 5 o’ clock LA traffic to get my fix!

  4. Hi De Ho is the WORST comic shop around. I can’t believe anyone, other than their employees, would shill for them. Seriously? How can you love Hi De Ho?

    “Gee, let’s put new comics on the floor and back up under some other shelves and make it even harder for folks! GENIUS!!!”

    Sorry, that store is a classic comic book shop mess and it seems like half the people who work there have no idea about comics or the store they work in.

    It is right near my office and I refuse to buy comics there. I would prefer to fight my way into Hollywood and go to either Meltdown or Secret Headquarters (now those are good shops). Hell, I’ll go to Golden Apple before I got to Hi De Ho.

  5. Gotta disagree.

    The people there are nice, the selection of comics and art books are pretty damn good and to compare them to shops with 5 times the space and variety of materials is a serious disservice. It’s a smaller store with a neighborhood vibe. Is it as slick and organized as Meltdown? Hell no. Is it a nice place to get comics, sure.

    If the books are too low for you, try doing squats and pull from the middle of the stack like everywhere else.

  6. Or how about just going to a properly merchandised store?
    New comics laying in the floor, huh? Jeez.
    Sounds like the crap shop in my town that just lays ’em out on the counter. I guess the prospect of actually racking them too much for lazy asses to contemplate.
    Imagine if Blockbuster or your local CD store treated their product (and their customers) like that.

  7. Books aren’t too low for me –I’m in shape if that’s what you’re implying– it is just common sense: you put the stuff that folks are coming in for where they can be easily seen and picked up. That’s just good design, but nothing at Hi De Ho is ‘designed’: it’s a mess.

    Man I hate that store… boxes everywhere, overflowing & packed shelves, useless crap no one will ever buy, random selection merchandise laid out with no rhyme or reason… do they even sweep/clean the floors? no idea how they stay in business.

    And they know nothing about comics: went looking for a book and they didn’t even know who John Byrne was (say what you will about him, his early FF stuff is great)

    Meltdown as ‘slick’? Hardly: they have a bigger space and they’re a bit more organized (read: no boxes and overstuffed shelves). Knowledgable

    You friendly & neighborhoody? Secret Headquarters fits that bill…

  8. Dude, I’m soooooo bummed. *Confession* I live in Central Cali. and once I found out about the store a little over a year ago. I’ve been there at least once a month to once every other month. It’s soooo worth the pilgrimage to go check it out and say what up to steve-dave *bryan johnson* My wife and I went to the Clerks II DvD release party and got to meet the whole gang! It felt like family man!!!! I LOVE THIS PLACE!!! I’ve been to the east coast one and it’s cool but man this is like a hop skip and a jump a way!!! If ANYONE READING THIS gets the chance to go then do so please for the love of all things Kevin Smith!!!!

    bassfiend13

  9. “New comics laying in the floor, huh? Jeez.
    Sounds like the crap shop in my town that just lays ‘em out on the counter. I guess the prospect of actually racking them too much for lazy asses to contemplate.”

    They aren’t lying on the floor; they’re on the lower racks of a two-tiered shelf rack system thingie. The upper racks contain graphic novels and TPBs, the lower contain single issues.

    Contrary to what The Dude says, there really aren’t boxes everywhere nor overflowing & packed shelves. Their back issues are boxed and shelved nicely in wooden boxes that are clearly labeled as to what they contain. Random selection merchandise laid out with no rhyme or reason? Hardly. I’m hardpressed to think of anything I want that I couldn’t find easily in the store. Essentials and Showcase volumes are in one place; “hot authors” in one place, organized by author; manga and related stuff in one place; media and art books in one place; adult books in one place; etc.

    Honestly, I don’t know the store that The Dude is complaining about.

  10. I dunno – Hi De Ho is the only place on the planet that praises my Deposit Man book and they’re always asking when my next one’s coming out- so I’m under obligation not to say a bad thing about them.

    I knew something was funny going on when Secret Stash started throwing new to current books in their 25 cent boxes. i got a bunch of 52’s and Jonah Hexs for under $10.

    ~

    Coat

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